Orissa assures POSCO to expedite forest diversification plan

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 3 (UNI) The Orissa government today assured steel major POSCO-India to expedite the forest diversification plan for the proposed 12 MTPA steel plant near Paradip.

The assurance was given to the POSCO officials at a meeting here under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy.

POSCO had applied for 4004.24 acre of land to set up the green field project at an estimated cost of Rs 52,000 crore, considered to be the largest FDI in the country.

As per a MoU signed with the government of Orissa in June 2005, the company would build a four million ton capacity steel plant in Orissa during the first phase of the project between 2007 and 2010 and expand the production volume to 12 million ton in two phases later.

The project, however, had run into rough weather due to stiff resistance by the local people likely to be displaced by the steel plant.

Out of the total 4004.24 acre of land required by the POSCO, 3566.56 acre were government land of which 2951.56 acre had been demarcated as forest land.

The Orissa government had recommended to the Union Ministry in July last year for its approval of the forest land. Later the Supreme Court had also given a green signal for the forest diversification.

Official sources said the state government had completed the hearing for the allotment of mines to the company. POSCO India and some 200 others had applied for the lease of the Khandahar mines.

Orissa Mines Secretary Ashok Dalwai said though the hearing had been completed the government had not yet taken a final decision on the issue.

UNI BD-DP SJC RN1927

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